On Lines & Inner Nets, Publicly Recorded

Supreme Court, in Big Leap, Plans to Put Filings Online – NYTimes.com

“Information Wants To Be Free”

Stewart Brand circa 1984

WASHINGTON The Supreme Court will soon join other federal courts in making briefs and other filings available electronically, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. announced Wednesday. The changes will come “as soon as 2016.” 

Chief Justice Roberts explained the court’s approach to technological change saying that judges had a special obligation to move more slowly than the rest of society.

SCOTUSI suppose it takes time to realize the benefits and then decide it is best to change and catch up with the rest of society, but the federal district courts have been using online electronic filing with public accessable court records online for over a decade. PACER (Public Access to Electronic Court Records) began in 1988 (library terminal access only) and was available on the World Wide Web in 2001. 

Although PACER is outdated and charges a ridiculous fee of .10 a page, Minnesota’s courts are still trapped somewhere in the 1980s with absolutely no online access to court filings available to the public. There is no electronic access to actual court filings available (as opposed to the currently available online records, which are limited to only court dockets via MNCIS or just the “index” or “Table of Contents” of a case’s filings–you can see something was filed but not  what that something actually is!) unless you go to a public terminal at a courthouse.

I have yet to hear a worthwhile reason that supports restricting access to public records to only courthouses rather than making them readily available to all via the internet (and for free-unlike PACER). Maybe it is to encourage people to visit their local courthouses on more than a only-when-legally-mandated basis?

The rest of the SCOTUS NY Times story can be read via this link Supreme Court, in Big Leap, Plans to Put Filings Online – NYTimes.com.

FOR MORE RECENT PUBLIC RECORDS NEWS SEE:

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Attorneys & Lawyers & Counselors, Civilized Proceedings, On Lines & Inner Nets

Pointless E-mail Disclaimers | Disruptive Library Technology Jester

I am going to reveal my true inner-nerd here so please keep it on the down low, but this is pretty hilarious. It’s a librarian’s blog–no that’s not the funny part—wait—really. It’s a librarian’s blog post on stupid e-mail disclaimers! Any one who e-mails regally with lawyers, has seen so many of these you don’t even notice them anymore (real effective disclaimer) but this one sums up some of the more hilarious ones I’ve read in a while . . .or maybe it’s just the liberation commentary to each one that does it? Either way, I am thankful for humorous librarians this Turkey Day in the year Twenty Fourteen. Enjoy and thank a librarian everyday!

Looks like a librarian to me and its a Public Domain photo!

Looks like a librarian to me and its a Public Domain photo!

Pointless E-mail Disclaimers | Disruptive Library Technology Jester.

DISCLAIMER

I have posted a few times before about funny disclaimers.
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Minding My Own Business, On Lines & Inner Nets, Technically Lawful

Despite Denials, Court says Yelp! May Alter Ratings as Ad Sales Tactic

yelp_logo (1)How much trust do you put in online reviews of local businesses? A lot of people use  them as a decision-making tool before spending their hard-earned money on a good or service. Quite often and understandably, small business owners with a poor review or rating want to sue the messenger.

Recently, Yelp! was sued for manipulating some small businesses’ online ratings after the companies would not buy, or quit, advertising on Yelp!’s website. Continuing to deny what restaurateurs have said was true for years, Yelp! says it does not rearrange positive and negative reviews so they are higher or lower on a review list. At times in can seem the reviews are posted without any discernible reason other than to impact consumers’ perceptions.

However, Yelp! got another positive review from a federal court last week and this one is at the top of the list. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled in Yelp!’s favor and confirmed the business owners that brought the suit did not sufficiently allege they suffered from “economic extortion.”  The allegations included that the businesses’ ranking’s had plunged following negative encounters with Yelp! staff or sales reps usually over ad sales. The Court explained:

The business owners may deem the posting or order of user reviews as a threat of economic harm, but it is not unlawful for Yelp to post and sequence the reviews. As Yelp has the right to charge for legitimate advertising services, the threat of economic harm that Yelp leveraged is, at most, hard bargaining.

Did you catch that? Yelp! may legally post the reviews it wants to, and not the ones it does not, and in any order it wants. That means Yelp! has the right to not post particular reviews (good or bad), can bury a bad review or raise an older, positive review from the obscure second or unseen third page to the most prominent top spot on page one.

The yelpblindly trusted, and unreliable, user reviews we dutifully turn to and place so much credence in before making a purchasing decision may lawfully be manipulated by the companies that own them. Worse yet, the purely portrayed common man’s opinion may be dishonestly altered in order to deceive consumers to make a profit.

The other conduct Yelp! was accused of was writing negative reviews itself. The Court didn’t find it plausible and found dismissal of the claim proper. Although Yelp! has admitted it used to pay folks to write reviews during its infancy, the Court determined the factual allegations were insufficient to allow the case to continue.promo_yelp

In 2007, the CEO for Yelp! even wrote in a blog post (where else?) for The New York Times “there was a time in our earlier days where we experimented with paying for reviews directly in cities outside of San Francisco to help get the ball rolling in our otherwise empty site.”  Yet, pleading this fact coupled with some rather weak allegations did not suffice.

But the Court does offer an assurance to small business owners everywhere when it concludes the opening the Court’s written opinion by hinting there may be a way to attack Yelp!’s alleged conduct:

We emphasize that we are not holding that no cause of action exists that would cover conduct such as that alleged, if adequately pled. But for all the reasons noted, extortion is an exceedingly narrow concept as applied to fundamentally economic behavior. The business owners have not alleged a legal theory or plausible facts to support the theories they do argue.

The hint is nice. Kinda like “Come on lawyers, the answer is right there! Just use it!”

Don’t worry Yelp!. I won’t say what claim to use either . . .

More on This:

The Terrible Yelp Ruling Isn’t So Bad–The New Yorker

Court rules for Yelp in suit over online ratings – SFGate.

MKT

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On Lines & Inner Nets

Business Nerd News–Minnesota’s New Businesses Still Prefer LLC over INC (3-to-1)

Whoo Hoo! I just got done reading the latest economic studies covering the first quarter for Minnesota from St. Cloud State University and can’t wait to share: There were 10,406 new business filings in the metro alone through April 30, 2014. That’s almost 3/4 of a percent higher than last year. New businesses are still preferring (no surprise) to file as limited liability companies (LLC) under Minn. Stat. 322B rather than as business corporations (Inc.) under Minn. Stat. 302A. In fact, the preference is at a rate of about 3 to 1 this year so far. Also good news for not-for-profit formations. There were almost 9% more non-profits formed this year over 2013 at the same time. For more business nerd news, look to my source: Metropolitan Area and Business Conditions Report–First Quarter 2014 found here. p.s. I tried to post some cool graphs to show y’all this visually but they didn’t work out so well. Alas, the plain text post only.

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Attorneys & Lawyers & Counselors, On Lines & Inner Nets

Legal E-mail Disclaimer Post (reblogged)

Here’s a great post from a Texas lawyer, Mark Bennett, from his blog called “Defending People – the toa of criminal-defense trial lawyering” descriptively entitled “Stupid Lawyer-E-mail Disclaimer.” Enjoy.

http://blog.bennettandbennett.com/2014/07/stupid-lawyer-email-disclaimer.html

For my Stupid Lawyer Disclaimer, please click here. Mine is (hopefully) an obvious joke.

Now I’m wondering if the disclaimer in this post is serious. Since it is almost as far over the top as my disclaimer is maybe it is not to be taken seriously? Maybe it actually is serious?

Oh no! Is my disclaimer being taken seriously? Maybe my disclaimer needs a humor disclaimer? Hmmmmmm? I must ponder and research this weighty and circular legal issue.  I’ll report back soon.

MKT

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On Lines & Inner Nets, Publicly Recorded

The Best 2013 List Ever!

The List
list

Since it is the New Year  almost February middle of March 15th of April end of May start of June 2014, I feel obligated to finish my “Best of 2013” list. After all, the year will be half over soon (today is the 159th day and it is only 43.56% over). You can’t do a “Best of List” of the preceding year when you are into February March April May June July of the current year. That would be way too late. Too late for polite company. It would be like wearing white shoes after Labor Day; or is it wearing white pants, no shoes, er, anything white including shoes? Who wears white shoes? Basketball players and ballerinas.  Oh! Or is it white before Memorial Day? I don’t have any white shoes . . . or ballet slippers . .  and it is almost Ground Hog Day Saint Patty’s Day Tax Day just was Memorial Day, almost so . . .. Self, get back to the list-thing.

December 2, 2013–Top Ten Cases of 2013

Everyone does a list, especially bloggers who have already wrote everything imaginable about Christmas by December 2 and can’t think of anything else to write about so they move to the next holiday. Attorneys always list their best cases–The Winners!–on their web sites. So I thought (originally no doubt): A list of my “Top Ten Cases of 2013.” Legal topics, marketing purpose, personal experiences, PERFECT! I can draft this post easily! I’ll have it up in no time. They say bloggers should write lists because people like to read lists. Not real sure why? Something about short attention spans I think. So a List it will be! I’ll be listing!

December 25, 2013–Top Ten Topical Topics of 2013

As December wore on, it kept getting harder to come up with an overall topic, a triumphant theme that tied together ten tantalizing, things tightly.  But related items made it harder. Something will come to me if I just take my time and think. And I didn’t want to post it too soon in December for fear of being perceived as a blogger who ran out of Christmas themed blog posts too soon. I did not. I still wrote about reindeer on the 23rd (in red and green fonts)! But not in a list? Hmmm. . . .

January 18, 2014–The Favorite Five 5

Once it got to be into the new year, I thought, “Well, I’ll just do a list of my, “Top Five Cases of 2013.” Listing 10 would sound too pretentious anyway. I don’t want to come off like some arrogant jerk bragging about myself. Even with 5 cases, it is still considered marketing. Five cases seems about right. A list can have 5 items. Milk, bread, sugar, coffee and . .  toilet paper. If the short attention span thing is true, then ten is too long anyway. Way too long. I’ll keep it to five. A list of 5.  Self, the list ain’t gonna write itself, ya know! 

February 28, 2014 The _____Five Cases of 2013

I knew I should have started this earlier. Like in 2012. I was finally getting ready to start listing things. OK. Top cases. Best cases? Shouldn’t be too tough. Let’s see . Above all else? The highest, the tallest, the apex? . . Top, The Best, Greater, Better, Grander, Superior, this is starting to sound like I’m describing a ballroom.  . . . What’s so superior or grand or better about Lawsuits? Settlements? Hmm . . . Maybe Outcomes?  Sounds easy enough . . . Best Resolutions.  . . . Wait! What about if it just wound up being the lesser of two (or five) bad outcomes. It was still a Grand Resolution, but it won’t sound very grand. Hmmmm?

March 21, 2014 The-Top Greatest Best Winners Most Epic Awesomeness 5 Cases of 2013

How do you define “Top Resolution”? “Win” won’t work. Best results? Expectations exceeded? Most money saved? Greatest trouble avoided? Unlikeliest results achieved? Quickest? Most cost-effective representation? Best value? Most ridiculous deadline met? Most obnoxious opponent defeated. This might be real short. This is hard. Self, write the damn list already!

May Day–The Five 2013

I know, I’ll do a list of my top 5 “Victories” of the year. I’ll make the definition general and broad enough to cover the cases I feel had a good resolution and can be easily viewed as victorious. Even if it is by those “on the outside looking in.” No lesser of two evils. Strictly feel good results. Remember the marketing! Yes. This will work. “Top Five Triumphant Victories of 2013” it is then. Now to get to the listing.

  • Not too many inside references. Check.
  • Typical attorney fashion. Check.
  • Keep the descriptions vague. Check.
  • Keep the types of cases somewhat generic. Check.
  • Have to obscure identities. Check.
  • Use a different basis for claim. Check.
  • But still keep it real. Check.
  • Only select best parts. Check.
  • Leave out negative facts. Check.
  • Don’t mention the awful parts that only I think are funny. Check.
  • Don’t mention any bad parts. Check.?
  • Didn’t I already say that one? Check!
  • Say how awesome I am. Check?
  • Make it all self-congratulatory, without sounding too braggadocio. Check.
  • But it’s for marketing purposes, ya know? check;

June 1–A List

I need to get started. But it is so hard to write a list! At least to get started I’ll write a title: “Most Victory Tops 15 Things I did Last Year Resulting  in, uh. yea. um and Better. . . .”

Aww, forget it. I’ll do it next year. Self, but there was a list or two . . .sorta.

list

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Civilized Proceedings, On Lines & Inner Nets, Publicly Recorded, Uncategorized

Stop Making Sense!

What is this? A Pol with a real apology? He’s reading it, but it sounds heartfelt. I giveth thee the benefit of my doubt, Charlie. You picked the wrong guy to swipe a song from, but hey, at least you have good taste!

I love the creative settlement term that seems to fit the offense. If you used the song on YouTube without licensing it, then you should apologize on YouTube for doing so. Seems apt.

What bothers me is our “lawmakers” either: 1) Don’t know much about the law (less than a typical teenager in this case); 2) Don’t care what the law is if it gets in their way; 3) Don’t believe it applies to them; or/and 4) Are so dumb they don’t think they’ll get caught using a song publicly for a political campaign. All of the above?

MKT

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